film The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies  

Ranker Film
1.4k votes 338 voters 9.8k views 35 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite martial arts films that were released in the 1980s

The best ‘80s kung fu movies, and other martial arts movies, embody the rugged individualism and spirit of the decade; a time when the most exciting films involved non-stop action and intense fight scenes. Many of these films are about one man taking a solo journey to defy the odds and defeat his enemies - and let’s not forget, getting the girl while he’s at it.


What are the top ‘80s kung fu and other martial arts movies? Jackie Chan's films dominated the silver screen in the 1980s and 1990s. In ‘85 he wrote, directed, and starred in
Police Story, a film Chan would later say was his personal favorite. The film spawned several sequels, and kept Jackie Chan in the public eye throughout the ‘80s. For '80s martial arts stars, this decade was all about the hero's journey. Be it the underdog hero from the Karate Kid or the unstoppable powerhouse, Chuck Norris, audiences were treated to countless acts of individual bravery.


If you’re familiar with ‘80s kung fu and other martial arts movies, you may know the work of legendary director Sammo Hung, a pioneer of the Hong Kong New Wave movement. Many of his classic films are featured on this list.

Vote up the best '80s kung fu and other martial arts films, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section!  

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Bloodsport is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Bloodsport Jean-Claude Van Damme, Forest Whitaker, Bolo Yeung Bloodsport is a 1988 American martial arts film directed by Newt Arnold, and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Roy Chiao, Donald Gibb and Leah Ayres. The film is partly based on unverified claims ...more

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Big Trouble in Little China is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Big Trouble in Little China Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, John Carpenter Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Big Trouble in Little China is a 1986 American action film directed by John Carpenter, and starring Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun and James Hong. The film was released in the United ...more

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The Karate Kid is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
The Karate Kid Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, who was 22 years old during principal ...more

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The Last Dragon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
The Last Dragon William H. Macy, Vanity, Keshia Knight Pulliam The Last Dragon is a 1985 martial arts musical film produced by Rupert Hitzig for Berry Gordy and directed by Michael Schultz. The film was a critical disappointment but a financial success, and ...more

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Kickboxer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Kickboxer Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lau Kar-wing, Haskell V. Anderson III Kickboxer is a 1989 American martial arts film produced and directed by Mark DiSalle, and co-directed by David Worth. The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and former world kickboxing champion ...more

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Best of the Best is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Best of the Best James Earl Jones, Eric Roberts, Louise Fletcher Best of the Best is a 1989 American martial arts film directed by Bob Radler, and produced by Phillip Rhee, who also co-stars in the film. The film also starring Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones ...more

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The Karate Kid, Part II is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
The Karate Kid, Part II Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Tamlyn Tomita The Karate Kid, Part II is a 1986 American martial arts film. A sequel to 1984's The Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita reprise their respective roles as young karate student Daniel ...more

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American Ninja is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
American Ninja Michael Dudikoff, Tadashi Yamashita, Steve James American Ninja is a 1985 ninja action film produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus's Cannon Films. Directed by Sam Firstenberg, who specialized in this genre in the 1980s, the film stars ...more

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No Retreat, No Surrender is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
MatthewGill added No Retreat, No Surrender Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kim Tai-chung, Kurt McKinney No Retreat, No Surrender is a 1986 American martial arts film directed by Corey Yuen in his American directorial debut, and starring Kurt McKinney and Jean-Claude Van Damme. The film was ...more

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Police Story is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Police Story Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung Police Story is a 1985 Hong Kong action film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the lead role. It is the first of the Police Story series featuring Chan as a Hong Kong ...more

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The Karate Kid, Part III is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
The Karate Kid, Part III Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, Robyn Lively The Karate Kid, Part III is a 1989 martial arts film, and the second sequel to the hit motion picture The Karate Kid. The film stars Ralph Macchio, Noriyuki "Pat" Morita and Robyn ...more

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Blind Fury is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Blind Fury Rutger Hauer, Terry O'Quinn, Randall "Tex" Cobb Blind Fury is a 1989 American samurai/action film written by Charles Robert Carner and directed by Phillip Noyce. It is a loosely based, modernized version of Zatoichi Challenged, the 17th film ...more

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Enter the Ninja is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Enter the Ninja Franco Nero, Christopher George, Sho Kosugi Enter the Ninja is a 1981 martial arts film directed by Menahem Golan and starring Franco Nero, Susan George and Sho Kosugi. Production was started in the Philippines with Emmett Alston ...more

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Cyborg is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Cyborg Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dayle Haddon, Ralf Möller Cyborg, known in the UK as Cyborg 009, is a 1989 American martial-arts science fiction film directed by Albert Pyun. Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as Gibson Rickenbacker, a mercenary who battles a ...more

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Police Story 2 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Police Story 2 Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung, Bill Tung Police Story 2 is a 1988 Hong Kong action crime comedy film written, directed by and starring Jackie Chan as Chan Ka-kui. It is a sequel to the hit 1985 film, Police Story, continuing the ...more

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Code of Silence is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Code of Silence Chuck Norris, John Mahoney, Dennis Farina Code of Silence is a 1985 American action film directed by Andrew Davis, and starring Chuck Norris and Henry Silva. The film was released in the United States on May 3, 1985. It was typical for ...more

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The Octagon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
The Octagon Chuck Norris, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Carter The Octagon is a 1980 action film starring Chuck Norris, Karen Carlson and Lee Van Cleef. It was directed by Eric Karson and written by Paul Aaron and Leigh Chapman. It was filmed in Los ...more

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Remo Williams: The Adventure B... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins Anthony Hopkins, Kate Mulgrew, Wilford Brimley Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, also released as Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous, is a 1985 American action-adventure-thriller film directed by Guy Hamilton. The film featured Fred Ward, Joel ...more

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Project A is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Project A Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao Project A is a 1983 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. The film was released ...more

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Lone Wolf McQuade is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Lone Wolf McQuade Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera Lone Wolf McQuade is a 1983 action film, starring Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera, L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Leon Isaac Kennedy and Robert Beltran, and is directed by Steve ...more

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Revenge of the Ninja is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Revenge of the Ninja Professor Tanaka, Sho Kosugi, Virgil Frye Revenge of the Ninja is an action film starring Sho Kosugi as a ninja. It is considered part of a ninja trilogy, starting with Enter the Ninja and ending with Ninja III: The Domination, but the ...more

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Dragon Lord is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Dragon Lord Jackie Chan, Tien Feng, Mars Dragon Lord is a 1982 Hong Kong martial arts film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the film. It was originally supposed to be a sequel to The Young Master and even had ...more

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Five Element Ninjas is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
I'Ron Green added Five Element Ninjas Michael Chan, Lo Mang, Ke Chu Five Element Ninjas is a 1982 Shaw Brothers kung fu film directed by Chang Cheh. It was released in North America as Chinese Super Ninjas.

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Wheels on Meals is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Wheels on Meals Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao Wheels on Meals is a 1984 Hong Kong martial arts comedy film written and directed by Sammo Hung, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao.

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Armour of God is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Armour of God Jackie Chan, Carina Lau, Alan Tam Armour of God is a 1986 Hong Kong action film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Alan Tam, Lola Forner and Rosamund Kwan. The film features ...more

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The Young Master is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
The Young Master Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, Tien Feng The Young Master is a 1980 Hong Kong martial arts film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the lead role. The film co-stars Yuen Biao, Feng Feng and Shih Kien. The film was ...more

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Invasion U.S.A. is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Invasion U.S.A. Chuck Norris, Billy Drago, Eddie Jones Invasion U.S.A. is a 1985 action film made by Cannon Films starring Chuck Norris. It was directed by Joseph Zito. Both Chuck Norris and his brother, Aaron, were involved in the writing. It was ...more

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Gymkata is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Gymkata Richard Norton, Tadashi Yamashita, Tetchie Agbayani Gymkata is a 1985 martial arts film starring Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas as Jonathan Cabot, an Olympic gymnast who combines his gymnastic ability with martial arts to enter a deadly competition ...more

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An Eye for an Eye is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
An Eye for an Eye Chuck Norris, Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree An Eye for an Eye is a 1981 American action film directed by Steve Carver, and starring Chuck Norris, Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree, Matt Clark, Mako Iwamatsu, and Maggie Cooper.

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Silent Rage is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Silent Rage Chuck Norris, Ron Silver, Stephen Furst Silent Rage is a 1982 romantic/action/science fiction/horror movie starring Chuck Norris and directed by Michael Miller.

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Dragons Forever is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Dragons Forever Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao Dragons Forever is a 1988 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film directed by Sammo Hung, who also co-stars in the film. The film stars Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao. The three actors, known ...more

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The Big Brawl is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
The Big Brawl Jackie Chan, José Ferrer, Rosalind Chao The Big Brawl, also known as Battle Creek Brawl, is a 1980 martial arts film which marked Jackie Chan's first attempt to break into the American movie market. It was directed by Robert Clouse ...more

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Miracles is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Miracles Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Jacky Cheung Hok-yau Miracles is a 1989 Hong Kong action comedy film directed and written by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the lead role and worked as stunt co-ordinator. The film is set in 1930s Hong Kong and is ...more

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A2 is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
A2

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Winners and Sinners is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '80s Kung Fu Movies
Winners and Sinners Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao Winners and Sinners is a 1983 Hong Kong action comedy film written and directed by Sammo Hung, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao. It was the first in the ...more